Kelly Mendoza (right) with her mom, Maureen O’Toole (left).


By Emma Myall
, Jr. Reporter


I recently had the chance to play under and be coached by one of my mentors and one of Water Polos great players, Kelly Mendoza.


Kelly, 22, started playing water polo when she was 8 years old in Danville California. Kelly never wanted to play Water Polo because her mom, Maureen OʼToole (Olympic Silver Medalist in Water Polo), played and it looked way to aggressive and tough. One day she jumped in the pool for fun and she was hooked.


“Honestly, I think coming from my family where everyone played water polo it was just in my nature to play in high school, college and on the National Team,” says Kelly.


“Once college teams started contacting me in high school I realized that I should start taking water polo a little more serious because I wanted to earn a full ride to a 4-year college. Working hard and dedication to water polo enabled Kelly to play at that next level, playing in College.”


When I asked Kelly what her biggest accomplishment was in her sport I was excited to hear it was what I dream of having: winning the NCAA in Womenʼs Water Polo Championship.


“It was the hardest experience I have ever accomplished,” she admits.


A hard worker, Kelly stays active in her sport and gets involved in every way she can. She keeps healthy in mind and in body in a sport that she loves.


“Staying active is hard, as young women being involved in a sport is not only a way to keep healthy and active but it is a powerful statement,” she says. “Find what you love about the sport and naturally you will become involved.”


“I love the perfect pass,” she adds. “Passing is overlooked by spectators but it can make or break the game. It is what makes the game tick and lead to the winning goal.”


With regards to her most memorable moment in Water Polo, she tells: “Playing by the side of my mom in the US Open.


Now 22 years old, Kelly is at a great spot in her career.


She just finished college at the University of Southern California where she accomplished not only a degree from an amazing University but an NCAA championship!


Playing in the US Open, coaching U16 Diablo Water Polo Team for the summer and exploring on her own venture with starting her own business has kept Kelly happy and healthy.


After all the teams Kelly has been on, all the experiences she has encountered in Water Polo, she is an amazing Coach, role model and inspiration to those who love her sport of Water Polo.



My name is Emma Myall and I am 16 years old. I have a passion for all sports but mostly water polo. I have been playing the sport for 8 years at Diablo Water Polo and have made the selection for National Teams and have played Internationally. I support all female athletes who want to make a difference in their sport. Including me, I want to make an impact on womenʼs water polo and Fast and Female will help me spread the word of empowerment for women to be smart, strong and dedicated athletes.